In The News

Satellite images show methane hotspot in southwestern U.S.

A study led by researchers at the University of Michigan has identified a methane hotspot in the southwestern United States, according to The Guardian . The investigation relied on satellite images from 2003 to 2009. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, about 86 times more efficient at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Knowing where it concentrates is valuable for those working to mitigate its emissions. Scientists say the high levels of methane found hovering over parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas most likely were pumped out of coal mines. Though at first glance many suspected fracking wells as the cause, data considered for the study were collected years before the recent U.S. fracking boom. Top image: A methane hotspot in the U.S.

Read More

Telemetry In the weeds: Study compares animal tagging across complex environments

Scientists tracking aquatic animals have to overcome obstacles that their terrestrial counterparts don’t endure. Take it from Anna Steel, who tracked largemouth bass in an estuary fraught with Brazilian waterweed, an aquarists’ favorite that can grow into impenetrable mats in the wild. Deep, turbid water made the problem worse, so Steel, like many other scientists, turned to a telemetry and tagging system to track the fish and triangulate their position. No two underwater environments are exactly alike, however, and the effects of different topographies and water properties on telemetry systems that position-tagged animals hadn’t been well-documented. Steel combined her observations with those of other researchers, and together they published their findings in Animal Biotelemetry .

Read More

Study of Oregon dam removals finds rivers recover quickly

As dams age and ecosystem recovery becomes an increasing management priority, dam removal is becoming a common practice . Removing dams tends release a slug of accumulated sediment to the river downstream, which sometimes raises concern over the impacts of removal projects on habitat, flooding, and infrastructure. But the concern over those catastrophic impacts seemed inflated to Desirée Tullos, an associate professor of water resources engineering at Oregon State University. Tullos' new study in the journal PLOS ONE offers evidence that, from a biological and physical perspective, there isn't much evidence to back up those concerns.

Read More